Food Expo organisers on Tuesday rejected a call to allow people to sample the delicacies on sale at this year's event.
Simon Wong, the president of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, told a Commercial Radio programme that a lot of exhibitors reported that business was significantly affected last year by a tasting ban put in place because of the pandemic.
With the same restriction planned this year, Wong called for a designated space for eating, adding that it would be safe, as long as people used the LeaveHomeSafe app and complied with vaccination requirements.
But Susanna Sin, head of communications and public affairs at the Trade Development Council which organises the expo, told the same radio programme that the tasting ban is necessary due to health risks.
"We understand the public really wants to sample the food, and of course, as the organiser, we want to allow that, but we need to strike a balance among several aspects," Sin said.
"When we look at the current development of the Covid-19 situation, we are still not at the point where we can take off our masks and eat freely anywhere."
The five-day event, at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, will begin on August 11.